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Adler Planetarium Free Days + Other Discounts

Updated: July 29, 2023
 By Mel

This post covers how to get discounted tickets to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, including free days, tours, and exhibits. 


This section will give you an overview of ticket types and ticket prices. There are a few options in addition to general admission.

Any free entry option is limited to general admission and we have listed them just below the ticket descriptions.

TIP: To get a discount of up to 50%, check out the attraction discount passes below. 

General Admission 

This gives you access to all permanent exhibitions and collections. 

Entry + 1 

This gives you access to all exhibitions and collections plus one show ticket of your choice.

Entry +2

This gives you access to all exhibitions and collections plus two show tickets of your choice.

Anytime All-Access Pass 

This gives you access to all exhibitions and collections with unlimited access to your choice of shows.

PRO TIP: The exhibits are awesome, but kids really love the Adler shows! You can see one, two, or all of them with various ticket levels.  

Free Museum Admission Days for Illinois Residents

Free admission entitles Illinois residents with a valid state ID to the general admission to the planetarium on specific days.

Residents may upgrade to an All-Access Pass at a discounted price. Check the website for specific days

Free Admission for Teachers + Active Police + Active Firefighters

Illinois teachers (K-12) with ID enter free for general admission.

Military Discount

The Adler Planetarium is part of the Blue Star Museum organization. Any active military personnel receives free general admission with military ID. 


This section includes the various discounts available for Adler Planetarium tickets. Don't pay full price when you don't have to.

Tourist Attraction Discount Passes

General admission to the Adler Planetarium is included in all of Chicago's tourist passes.

These passes work by combining tickets to popular attractions and tours into one discounted price, up to 55% off.

You can also save time by skipping the ticket line at select locations, which really can be a blessing in the summer.

In addition to the Adler Planetarium, here are a handful of the other popular attractions included with some passes:

If you want to learn more about attraction discount passes that can save you 50% on Chicago activities, check out our full post. 

Free Museum Admission Days for Illinois Residents

Free admission days, a boon for Illinois residents with a valid state ID, grant them general admission to the Adler Planetarium on selected days.

One particular highlight is on Wednesday evenings, where the cosmos open up for exploration from 4 pm - 10 pm.

Should residents wish for a more immersive experience, the option to upgrade to an All-Access Pass is available at a discounted price, providing a more extensive look at the astronaut lifestyle and special exhibits.

This Pass allows you to explore the wonders of the Adler Planetarium at your own pace, including the renowned Grainger Sky Theater and the Atwood Sphere Experience.

Special Admissions

Admission is just $1 for individuals under 18 and Link/EBT cardholders/WIC cardholders, including in months like June, July, August, and September. Upgraded tickets are available for these visitors for $5, providing museum entry to some contemporary art exhibits.

Bank of America cardholders get free admission on the first weekend of every month, a great time to explore concerts or festivals at the Adler Planetarium.

Illinois teachers (K-12) with ID, as well as first responders, enter free for general admission, including the availability of special tours during select days.

Seniors and Illinois educators with ID may also find special rates, and for up-to-date information, it’s recommended to check TripAdvisor or sign up for the Adler Planetarium's newsletter.

Go Chicago Explorer Pass

The Chicago Explorer Pass will give you admission to 3, 4, or 5 attractions at a discount of up to 40%.

The Adler Planetarium is included in the list of 29 eligible attractions. 

NOTE: If you would like either the Discovery or All Access Passes, you need only pay the difference when you arrive.

Chicago CityPASS

The CityPass booklet is a pre-packaged discount bundle that includes 5 popular tourist attractions at a discount of 53%.

All you have to do is purchase the one ticket and make a few choices on the options they give you.

We have a full tourist attraction discount pass comparison on our blog.

City of Chicago Residents

City of Chicago Residents with ID receive discounts on all admission passes every day.

Adults receive $2 off their tickets and children receive $3 off their tickets. 

Coupon Sites

Check out discount sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial - they occasionally have great coupons for admission. 


This section will help you plan your visit including how to get there, when to go, and how long you should expect to stay.

If you're looking for ways to get discounted tickets, check the section above.

How to Get There

Adler Planetarium is located at 1300 S Lakeshore Drive at the Museum Campus

Adler Planetarium Map

We recommend using this Google Maps link for directions to the museum.

While the Adler is within reasonable walking distance from most downtown hotels and popular attractions, there are public transportation and parking options to save time and energy. 


  • #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express/Museum Campus
  • #130 Museum Campus (mid-May through Labor Day)


  • Exit the Roosevelt stop (Red, Orange, Green lines) and transfer to bus #146 at State Street and Roosevelt Road.

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Best Times to Visit

Adler is open every day from 9:30 am until 4:00 pm, with extended summer hours to 6:00 pm between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

They are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. 

The museum is most popular mid-day on Saturdays and Sundays, so we suggest trying to arrive as they open on weekends or before noon on a weekday.

How long should I stay?

In general, visitors stay at the planetarium for 2.5 to 3 hours. 

Is there somewhere to eat at the Planetarium?

Yes. Cafe Galileo offers a beautiful, uninterrupted view of Lake Michigan, with Navy Pier clearly visible in the distance.

Is there a gift shop?

Yes! The Adler Store has educational games and toys, books, souvenirs, and clothing. 

Are other attractions close to the Planetarium?

Yes! Other museums at the Museum Campus include the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. The Art Institute Chicago is also less than 2 miles away. 


This section lists some of the fun exhibits available to interact with.

There are over 35,000 square feet to explore within the museum and it has one of the best views of the Chicago skyline!

Mission Moon 

Launch into space with Captain Lovell as you learn about the history of America’s space race, meeting the crew of Apollo 13 and touring the Gemini 12 spacecraft!

Our Solar System

Touching space rocks!? Enough said.

Feel fragments of the Moon and Mars, and get an up-close and personal view of meteorites while you learn the science behind their creation.

Community Design Lab 

You’re a scientist with your toolkit (marshmallows, popsicle sticks, bubble wrap, etc.) to problem solve, understand more about how the world works, and create space-exploring inventions!

The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time 

A history of the universe from the Big Bang right up until your visit!

This is the exhibit most people expect to see when they go to a world-renowned planetarium, and the Adler does not disappoint!

Planet Explorers 

A space-age, indoor playground! For children ages 3-8 years old. Kids can let their imagination soar as they climb, crawl, and play in this interactive jungle gym!

Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass

Examine the tools that first gave us a glimpse of the stars, from 1608 to the present day.

Marvel at the ingenuity of our fellow human beings’ inventions, including a colossal 22-foot-long antique!

Astronomy in Culture 

Explore the Medieval European and Middle Eastern history of stargazing.

The galaxy has fascinated everyone for centuries, and you’ll learn about the early theories in this exhibit that puts you in a replica medieval classroom!

What is a Planet?

Voted #1 in the British Society for the History of Science’s 2016 Exhibitions Competition, this exhibit teaches all ages what classifies an object as a planet as it travels among the stars.   


About The Author


Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: July 29th, 2023
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